Project SEARCH is a year-long internship programme aimed at  supporting young people with learning disabilities or autism to move towards and into work.

Project Search helps young people achieve employment and independence.

A collaboration between: Pluss, Petroc, and The Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust began, in Exeter, at the end of 2022.

Interns receive training and support before and after each day’s work placements.

They also receive on-the-job support from dedicated job coaches and will complete three rotations of ten-week placements, across several departments and services.

Similar programmes have been running at North Devon District Hospital for nine years (which have already helped 87% of it’s graduates into employment) and at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth where Project|SEARCH has been running for over 13 years.


Project|SEARCH adopts the supported employment model, which argues that learning how to do a job well within the workplace (as opposed to in a classroom) is the most effective way for people with a learning disability to achieve paid work.

The Project|SEARCH model was first developed in Cincinnati Children's Hospital to support people with learning disabilities into work. Project | SEARCH now runs in over 200 organisations around the world.

It aims to help remove significant barriers faced by people with learning disabilities looking for employment.

In the UK, for example, only 7% of people with learning disabilities nationally are in any form of paid work, compared with 73% of the wider population.

The end goal for each student is to achieve competitive employment either with the host employer or elsewhere in the community using the skills they have acquired.

Our Project|SEARCH sites have a combined job outcome rate of over 70%.

background image

Making Headlines

Project|SEARCH has been featured in several news items and publications, here are just a few:


Please note: Pluss is not responsible for the content of external websites

Five people with learning disabilities are in internships at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital as part of a Project Search, where they learn vital work skills.

Listen to this BBC Radio Devon feature broadcast on Friday 10 February, 2023 below.

  • Find out more

    If you are interested in finding out more, take a look at the Project|SEARCH website

    background image
  • Barnstaple

    Our Barnstaple Project|SEARCH site is run in partnership with Pluss, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust and Petroc.

    It is funded by Pluss, the NHS, Petroc and Devon County Council.

    For more details contact

    Email David
    background image
  • Exeter

    Our Exeter Project|SEARCH site s run in partnership with Pluss, Petroc and Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

    It is funded through Petroc College and Access To Work (ATW) funding.

    For more details contact

    Email Charlotte
    background image
  • Plymouth

    Our Plymouth Project|SEARCH site is run in partnership with Pluss, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust and City College Plymouth.

    It is funded by Pluss and Plymouth City Council.

    For more details contact

    Email Stevie
    background image